5% cash back on gas: Sam’s Club Mastercard credit card review

4d ago

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Sam’s Club Mastercard overview

The Sam’s Club Mastercard is a cash-back credit card available to Sam’s Club members. Although it doesn’t offer bonus earnings on most Sam’s Club and Walmart purchases, this no-annual-fee card does offer 5% back on gas and 3% back on dining and travel. The card issuer only distributes cash-back rewards once a year, but the rewards are easy to use at Sam’s Club. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐

*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.

Like many other consumers, I’ve been shopping at Walmart and warehouse clubs a lot more over the last few months. After all, most of us are spending a lot more time at home during the coronavirus pandemic. And, if you shop at Sam’s Club, you’ve likely seen advertisements for the Sam’s Club Mastercard.

After seeing these advertisements, you may be wondering whether the Sam’s Club Mastercard can help you get a better return on your spending at Sam’s Club and/or Walmart. So, although the Chase Freedom (no longer open to new applicants) and the new Chase Freedom Flex card have Walmart as a 5% bonus category this quarter, I decided to take a closer look at the Sam’s Club Mastercard. Here’s what I learned, as well as my overall take on the card for you.

The information for the Sam’s Club Mastercard, Chase Freedom Flex, Chase Freedom card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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In This Post

Who is this card for?

Fueling a vehicle
If you spend a lot of money on fuel, the Sam’s Club Mastercard may be a good choice for you. (Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

The Sam’s Club Mastercard is only worth considering if you already have a Sam’s Club membership or are thinking about joining Sam’s Club. After all, the card is only available to Sam’s Club members. But, the card has no annual fee and has relatively high earning rates for gas, dining and travel. So, it can be an appealing option for Sam’s Club members who prefer cash-back rewards and plan to maintain their Sam’s Club membership for the foreseeable future.

However, you won’t earn bonus points on most purchases with Sam’s Club or Walmart despite the card’s cobranded nature. Instead, you’ll earn bonus cash back on gas, dining and travel purchases. So, you might want to apply for this card to unlock a better return on these purchases.

Finally, I can’t recommend this card if you’re looking for one credit card for all your spending. In this case, one of the best everyday spending cards would be better. Or, if you spend a lot on gas or dining, you may do better with one of the best credit cards for dining or best credit cards for gas.

Related: 7 cards TPG staffers added to our wallets this quarter

Sign-up bonus: $45 value

Sam's Club exterior
You can earn a statement credit if you use your card to make a qualifying purchase of $45 or more within thirty days of opening your account. (Photo by Johnny Louis/Getty Images)

Store credit cards usually offer rather depressing sign-up bonuses and the Sam’s Club Mastercard is no exception.

Currently, you’ll only get a $45 statement credit when you open a new account and use your new card to make at least $45 in Sam’s Club purchases within 30 days. And, cash advances, gift card sales, alcohol, tobacco and pharmacy purchases won’t count.

Related: Why store credit cards are (almost) always a bad idea

Main benefits and perks

Woman holding a credit card wallet in a park
The perks on the Sam’s Club Mastercard are limited. (Photo by Orli Friedman/The Points Guy)

Even the best no-annual-fee cards don’t tend to offer many perks. But, the benefits are certainly minimal on the Sam’s Club Mastercard. In particular, you’ll only get the following perks:

Out of these advertised benefits, only no foreign transaction fees and no annual fee are notable perks. After all, Sam’s Club locations accept most credit cards as well as other types of payment methods. So, saying that the Sam’s Club Mastercard is accepted at all Sam’s Club and Walmart locations nationwide isn’t all that notable.

Related: 11 credit cards that can get you $1,000 or more in value

How to earn cash back

Sam's Club Mastercard
Use your Sam’s Club Mastercard to earn cash-back rewards. (Photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy)

With the Sam’s Club Mastercard, you’ll earn cash back as follows:

  • 5% at gas stations (on first $6,000 per calendar year, then 1%)
  • 3% on dining and travel
  • 1% on everything else

You’ll generally earn cash back whenever you use your card to make a purchase. However, you won’t earn cash back when you purchase tobacco and smoking-related products (including electronic cigarettes) at any Sam’s Club location or on the Sam’s Club website. And, you won’t earn bonus cash back on dining and travel purchased from warehouse clubs other than Sam’s Club.

It’s worth highlighting that 5% cash back at gas stations is better than what is offered by many of the best credit cards for gas purchases. If you max out this category each calendar year, you’ll earn $300 of cash back annually. And, 3% cash back on dining and travel beats most of the best no-annual-fee credit cards on the market.

Note that this card doesn’t offer a bonus category for Sam’s Club and Walmart. If you’re looking for a way to boost your earnings at Walmart, the Chase Freedom (no longer open to new applicants) and Chase Freedom Flex each have Walmart as a 5% bonus category this quarter. You can also earn 5% back on Walmart purchases made online with the Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Card.

The information for the Capital One Walmart Rewards Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer

Related: The best cash-back credit cards for each bonus category

How to redeem cash back

Woman checking out from a store using a credit card
You can redeem cash-back rewards at any Sam’s Club in the U.S. or Puerto Rico. (Photo by Hero Images/Getty Images)

You’ll earn cash back each year between January and December. The cash back you earned during the previous year will become available each February. Specifically, the cash back earned during the last year will be automatically loaded onto your Sam’s Club membership each February. You can then use this cash back toward purchases at any U.S. or Puerto Rico Sam’s Club.

However, you won’t get any cash back and any unexpired cash back will be forfeited in the following cases:

  • Your card account isn’t in good standing
  • You earn less than $5 of cash back in a calendar year
  • You aren’t a Sam’s Club member
  • Your card account is canceled or closed

Finally, unredeemed cash back can expire. The expiration date will be listed on the reward notification you’ll receive when the cash-back rewards are issued. So, pay attention to this date.

If you plan to maintain a Sam’s Club membership for years to come and periodically shop at Sam’s Club, you shouldn’t have any issues with this redemption scheme. But, if you don’t spend all that much with Sam’s Club, make sure you don’t earn more cash-back rewards than you can spend on Sam’s Club purchases.

Related: 3 reasons why you need a cash-back credit card in your wallet

Sam’s Club Mastercard frequently asked questions

Sam's Club Mastercard
(Photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy)

Finally, I’ll address some of the most frequently asked questions about the Sam’s Club Mastercard.

What is the Sam’s Club Mastercard?

The Sam’s Club Mastercard is a no-annual-fee credit card available to Sam’s Club members. The card doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees and earns cash-back rewards on most purchases. Specifically, you’ll earn 5% back on gas, 3% back on dining and travel and 1% back on most other purchases.

Related: Is it better to earn bonus points or cash back during the pandemic?

How do I pay my Sam’s Club Mastercard?

You can pay the monthly bill for your Sam’s Club Mastercard online by logging in to your account. You can also set up automatic, reoccurring payments by logging in to your account online. You can also pay your credit card bill at any Sam’s Club register or membership desk, any Wal-Mart register or by calling the number on the back of your card.

Related: 13 expenses that you should not put on your credit card

Where can I use the Sam’s Club Mastercard?

You can use your Sam’s Club Mastercard anywhere Mastercard credit cards are accepted. Plus, since the Sam’s Club Mastercard doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees, you can use it abroad without incurring additional costs.

Related: 10 programs that reward you for dining out

Is the Sam’s Club Mastercard worth it?

If you aren’t a Sam’s Club member, it likely won’t make sense to join Sam’s Club to apply for the Sam’s Club Mastercard. But, if you are already a Sam’s Club member and could benefit from 5% back on gas or 3% back on dining and travel, then the Sam’s Club Mastercard may be worth it for you. However, it’s also worth checking whether any of the best cards for gas, dining and travel purchases would be a better fit for you.

Related: Top five ways to save on gas

Bottom line

I’m surprised that the Sam’s Club Mastercard doesn’t offer a bonus category for Sam’s Club and Walmart purchases. But, if we ignore this factor, the card can be a good choice for Sam’s Club members who don’t mind adding a new card to their wallet for 5% cash back on gas and 3% cash back on dining and travel. However, it won’t be worth joining Sam’s Club solely to get access to this card.

Featured image by John Gribben/The Points Guy.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.